Questions tagged [data-transmission]

Questions regarding transfer of data from spacecraft and probes

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63 votes
1 answer
8k views

How is stacking oranges in 24 dimensions related to receiving and decoding signals from the Voyagers?

I was listening to Sphere Packing Solved in Higher Dimensions; A Ukrainian mathematician has solved the centuries-old sphere-packing problem in dimensions eight and 24. and reading the transcript ...
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37 votes
5 answers
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Why is the James Webb Space Telescope's data storage space so small?

In a previous question, I learned that the JWST's solid state recorder (SSR) can hold at least 58.8 Gbytes of recorded science data. Which each day requires two, 4 hour downlinks with earth to empty ...
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37 votes
1 answer
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Why does there appear to be a 180-degree stereo microphone array outside the ISS?

I was watching a feed on the latest footage of Hurricane Matthew as seen from the ISS just now, relayed from NASA TV. Suddenly, I spotted something poking out of the ISS hull in the footage that ...
27 votes
6 answers
9k views

Why does data transfer rate decrease with distance

I read that the New Horizon's probe will send data to back to Earth at 3000 bits per second by the time it reaches Pluto. I don't understand why a spacecraft has to have a lower data tranfer rate ...
26 votes
4 answers
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Does the International Space Station get TV?

For obvious reasons the ISS cannot get cable TV. Can the ISS get the new digital air TV or satellite TV using an issued dish and receiver like a house? How would that be done compared to how it is ...
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22 votes
1 answer
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What exactly turned on the light indicating Apollo 8 was starting to fall towards the Moon?

@PearsonArtPhoto's answer links to the page Apollo 8, 21 – 28 December 1968 by Hamish Lindsay at honeysucklecreek.net from where I have quoted below. Question: What exactly turned on the light ...
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20 votes
1 answer
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Why have there been no new New Horizons images in the last few weeks?

As I write this, the latest image in the NASA's New Horizon's image gallery is this spectacular photo showing Pluto's atmosphere: The full web page for the image is here. That image was posted ...
18 votes
2 answers
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Do astronauts get Netflix on ISS?

I've been wondering about the internet connection on the ISS, and how it's used. We were talking in chat about astronauts personal belongings and free time, and it made me wonder about how they use ...
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17 votes
1 answer
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What is carrier lock and bit lock?

I'm not sure if this question belongs here or in Amateur Radio, but during the acquisition of signal from New Horizons on New Year's Day, I heard the controllers call out "carrier lock", "symbol lock",...
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14 votes
4 answers
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Are satellites able to stream real-time videos about certain parts of Earth's surface?

Are surface-scanning satellites able to show certain parts of Earth's surface real-time? For example, to follow a person who's escaping. Somewhere I heard that these satellites are able to make ...
14 votes
1 answer
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Opportunity's last tau was 10.8; what does that mean and how is tau defined and measured?

@ahiijny added a direct link to the Sol 5110-5114 MER B Downlink Report. These are the final days that signals were received from Opportunity. The message "Tau Value is NOT a Typographical Error" ...
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13 votes
7 answers
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Where are the pictures during the time the pictures are sent from space to home?

Obviously the pics aren't floating around, but how can I explain this to a 10 year old?
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2 answers
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How to calculate data rate of Voyager 1?

I've read the following passage in the answer to the Quora question How can Voyager send a signal strong enough for us to receive, in spite of its enormous distance from us? And how can it have the ...
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13 votes
3 answers
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Is it possible for LEO satellites to detect a usable signal from regular mobile phones on the ground?

Background Recently I came across a company called ASTS that claims they will be able to launch LEO satellites with the capability to talk with regular mobile phones. I initially wrote their claims ...
13 votes
1 answer
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What are the data storage capabilities onboard the James Webb Telescope?

If something were to happen that would cause the James Webb Telescope to be unable to downlink its data to earth, how long could it continue collecting observations before it would run out of storage ...
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12 votes
2 answers
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Current maximum bandwidth between Mars and Earth?

What is the current maximum bandwidth between Mars and Earth (at their closest), accounting for any satellite/prober/orbiter that is either at Mars or already launched and en route? So far I've found ...
12 votes
3 answers
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How do rockets stream live video during launches?

Several times when I followed a space launch being broadcasted in the internet, they also included live video from the launch vehicle itself. Such as this ESA ATV launch. Now I don't know if this ...
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12 votes
1 answer
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How is data transferred from interplanetary missions?

I'm trying to find out information about the mechanics of data transmission from planetary probes: techniques, devices, methods, software. In short, How reliable data transmission is undertaken in ...
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11 votes
2 answers
1k views

Were the Apollo broadcasts recorded locally on the LM?

I've previously asked about how the recordings from the Apollo missions were originally recorded, and then transcribed; but I forgot about the video as well! It's well known that for some of the ...
11 votes
1 answer
1k views

Do the Voyager probes transmit analogue or digital data?

When the Voyager probes take a picture or record other data, do they digitize it on board and send a digital signal to earth (i.e. zeros and ones) or do they transmit an analogue signal (like old-...
11 votes
1 answer
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Why is New Horizons' data transmission speed so slow compared to Voyager?

New Horizons was said to be able to communicate at ~1kbit/s at Pluto and 38kbit/s at Jupiter. Communication with the spacecraft is via X band. The craft had a communication rate of 38 kbit/s at ...
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10 votes
6 answers
838 views

Alternative data transfer channels for inter-stellar probes?

The problem how it is possible to receive data from Voyager I at all is dealt in this question: https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/13227/how-earth-communicates-with-voyager-i However, there ...
10 votes
2 answers
843 views

What does a NASA employee see on their monitor when a robot lands on Mars?

I have seen that many NASA employees (see the picture) were present in the control room when InSight landed on Mars on November 26, 2018. What I did not see is what exactly those people saw on their ...
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1 answer
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What exactly is the interaction that blocked Juno's data downlink near solar conjunction?

According to Space.com's article Juno Phones Home: Jupiter Probe Reconnects with Earth After 8th Flyby, Juno's recent close flyby of Jupiter and data collection happened while Jupiter was too close to ...
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10 votes
2 answers
816 views

Can we talk to Pioneer 6?

My question is relatively simple in the essence that it takes few words to ask, but scientifically may be a nightmare. In 2000, the Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex sent a message to ...
9 votes
3 answers
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Will there be live HD television from Mars with the Mars 2020 mission?

Is it known if live HD television from Mars would be possible with the Mars 2020 rover mission and if an extra channel would be possible just for relaying HD TV to make live broadcasts possible ? ...
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9 votes
2 answers
397 views

Do you need a "wire" on a Europa submarine to phone home?

In regards to Europa, what are the limitations regarding current data transmission technology. Say we were to have an orbiter circling Jupiter, a lander on the surface of Europa and a "swimmer" [...
9 votes
1 answer
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Why was Kepler's orbit chosen to continue to drift away from Earth?

The Kepler telescope was launched from Earth on March 7 2009 and placed in an independent orbit around the Sun, with a semimajor axis of 1.0132 AU, period of 372.53 days, and an eccentricity of 0.036 ...
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9 votes
2 answers
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Is it possible to extend high speed data transmission with lasers to the distance Earth to Mars?

Data transmission using an optical laser between ground station and a GEO satellite may offer very high data rates, up to 1.8 GBit/s for instance. But what about a transmission from Earth to Mars ...
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9 votes
1 answer
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How does Curiosity know how to point and move it's high gain antenna in real time?

The Curiosity rover has a compact X-band high-gain antenna (HGA) that allows for low data rate communication directly with Earth, but is used though for higher data rates it usually uses UHF to ...
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9 votes
1 answer
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Why has the Earth's motion carried it out of view of Pioneer 11's antenna?

According to The Pioneer Missions, my emphasis, The Pioneer 11 Mission ended on 30 September 1995, when the last transmission from the spacecraft was received. There have been no communications ...
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9 votes
2 answers
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Satellites in orbit which transmit data available to public?

There are websites that present home projects where people have successfully received weather satellite imagery from NOAA satellites (such as this one). I would like to know if there are other ...
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8 votes
1 answer
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Why not a "live" visual connection with Curiosity on Mars all the time?

Note: Got the idea for this question by @uhoh's question: "Has anything close to video ("live" or otherwise) been shot in space from beyond the Moon ? To have the "feeling" of a "live" connection ...
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8 votes
6 answers
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Hijacked space data, notable instances of recovering images or other goodies from someone else's space mission?

These are images taken by a Chinese cubesat in lunar orbit, taken again by a Dutch radio telescope. The original of this GIF was tweeted here and I've reconstructed it because I don't know how to ...
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8 votes
1 answer
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To what extent could JWST continue to be useful after the propellant runs out?

I see a similar question answered, but this is perhaps more specific. There's a lot of description about the James Web Space Telescope (JWST) operation during its planned mission. But I gather JWST ...
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8 votes
1 answer
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Why are there times when the ISS can transmit audio, but not video?

I am watching the live stream of today(9/1/16)'s spacewalk. The ISS entered a position in space where the video feed was lost, but they are still able to broadcast the audio conversations between the ...
8 votes
1 answer
922 views

What evidence would be needed to determine a signal was artificial in origin?

Humanity has received some odd signals in the past. We've also sent out some signals ourselves. How could we determine that a signal we'd received was artificial in origin? Or of course inversely, ...
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8 votes
0 answers
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What are the general properties and specs for JWST's onboard data and image processing capabilities?

Answers and comments on What is the data storage capabilities onboard the James Webb Telescope? which reference the James Webb Space Telescope User Documentation item JWST Solid State Recorder mention ...
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7 votes
2 answers
846 views

How far can SETI's ear listen?

With the current infrastructure available to SETI, how distant would it be feasible to pick up routine radio communications and noise from a planet emitting radio with identical power and signal ...
7 votes
2 answers
191 views

Sneakernet: Would data return together with sample return be useful?

Mars 2020 will drill and store several surface samples until a return-to-Earth vehicle arrives. The rover will then use its arm to move its sample box to onboard the return vehicle. Could the rover ...
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7 votes
1 answer
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Technological challenges in substituting EO Satellites X-band downlinks with laser downlinks?

The majority of Earth Observation satellites, whether for meteorology or land analysis, downlink their data in the X-Band to either government-run or privately-owned ground stations. In Europe, the ...
7 votes
2 answers
104 views

Curiosity / MRO UHF connection and weak signal modulation

In the case of MRO and Curiosity communications via UHF, an active feedback system was implemented in which Curiosity monitored the quality/SNR of the connection and commanded Curiosity to increase / ...
7 votes
1 answer
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Were there any policies or technical reasons for powering down all Apollo ALSEPs in 1977?

I first tried to include this in the question Why were the “perfectly functioning” seismometers placed by Apollo 12, 14, 15 and 16 astronauts all shut off in 1977? but after three comments from three ...
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7 votes
1 answer
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How was the Moon's first telescope used? (Apollo 16)

From Gizmodo's There's Poop on the Moon list of things left on the moon: This gold-plated telescope that was the first tool used to make astronomical observations from the surface of another ...
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6 votes
1 answer
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Will the Mars 2020 rover be able to record high-framerate video of its helicopter?

According to this answer, there have been no instances of video recorded from beyond lunar orbit. Mostly, this makes sense as rovers and spacecraft are served just as well with pictures and nothing ...
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6 votes
2 answers
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Will Perseverance's landing be live streamed?

I know that the launch will be live streamed, but I am interested in the landing. Is there a plan to make it possible for the general public to get access to landing video as soon as mission control? ...
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5 votes
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What Voyager spacecraft hardware performed transmitted data coding in such a complicated way? Did ground decoding use “a big monster filling a rack”?

The now-famous answer to How is stacking oranges in 24 dimensions related to receiving and decoding signals from the Voyagers? is worth stopping now here and going back and reading first. Okay welcome ...
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5 votes
2 answers
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What type of data did New Horizons send to Earth in order to diagnose the switch to Safe Mode issue?

Recently, the New Horizons spacecraft on its way to Pluto suffered a "hard-to-detect timing flaw in the spacecraft command sequence." Does that mean that it was a multi-threading error or something ...
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5 votes
2 answers
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When scientific and engineering data are sent from space probes, are the signals repeated to minimize transmission error?

I would think that this would be the case. In any one transmission there will be a systematic error due to the fundamentals of the transmitter / receiver. Is there also a transient or stochastic error ...
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1 answer
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Was the time of Schiaparelli's landing chosen specifically so the Giant Meter Wave Radiotelescope could listen?

The ESA blog post Listening to an Alien Landing describes the plan to monitor a UHF beacon transmitted by Schiaparelli during it's upcoming descent and landing on Mars (2016-10-19 about 14:45 UT). The ...
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